Saving Money: Small Amounts Matter Giveaway

saving small amounts of money

Continuing with our small amounts are important series, we have a new giveaway. We changed things up a bit and will be giving one $25 prize, as well as five $5 prizes. One of the ways to enter is to leave a comment on how you save small amounts of money, and I would love to hear about it:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m a huge fan of finding ways to save money, especially if they don’t take much time or effort. A lot of the things we do are done purely by habit, and those habits can end up costing us a lot more than they need to. While a lot of people assume that saving money is a lengthy and painful process, the truth is that a lot of simply savings strategies can be accomplished with little time or effort, and can add up to big savings over time. it’s simply a matter of identifying the places where you can save and make a change if it isn’t too much trouble.

I think one of the surprising small money saving strategies that’s worked for me was getting a 10 minute timer. I had heard about it and I was skeptical whether it would work for me. While I figured there were are a lot of productivity benefits, I wasn’t sure if it would actually save me money. it didn’t take long for it to pay for itself.

I am one of those people who gets lost thinking in the shower and can spend a lot of time there without even realizing it. Hour long showers were not uncommon. I have a 10 minute timer exclusively in the bathroom that I set when I go in to make sure I don’t spend a half hour or more using hot water. While the timer did cost me a couple of dollars as an initial investment, the money I save on the water bill and gas bill (for heating the shower water) has been hundreds of dollars each year.

It really doesn’t have to be a big change (or difficult one) to make an impact. I never planned the long showers, but simply got to thinking and ended up being in there far longer than I always planned. The timer reminds me that I can think just as well outside the shower and saves me money in the process.

What are some of the little things that you do which save money?

If you’re a blogger and would like to participate in these giveaways, you can find out more information here.

(Photo courtesy of Cubosh)

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48 Responses to Saving Money: Small Amounts Matter Giveaway

  1. leslie says:

    I use coupons. I really don’t understand why more people don’t since it’s free money. I save hundreds of dollars a year using them and you can find them everywhere these days.

  2. Angella says:

    I save change for a rainy day. I also sell crafts on etsy and put all that money towards debt!

  3. diana says:

    I make my own cleaning products. It’s easy to do and costs pennies to make. Plus it’s much more environmentally friendly. I don’t think I have bought a commercial cleaning product in years.

  4. Shannon says:

    I do a few things:
    + use baking soda to wash my face and hair (so so cheap!)
    + use the Safeway Just For U coupon app
    + take surveys for amazon gift cards and to test products
    + make high-protein meals for work…I end up eating less and saving more
    + do my own nails with good quality mani tools, saves about $20 a month!

  5. patientsaver says:

    I buy super-cheap tomato sauce and then enhance it with my own sauteed garlic, onions and spices.

  6. lauramoreland says:

    i buy in large size quanities and put food in storage containers

  7. Sandra J says:

    I save all my change and deposit it into my savings account about twice a month.11

  8. Elisabeth says:

    I like to shop Buy 1 Get 1 sales at the grocery store.

  9. I use 3/4 of the recommended amount of laundry detergent, 4th load is free!

  10. Christina says:

    I use coupons at a supermarket to buy enough where I can get a Fuel Reward to shave 10 – 30 cents a gallon from car petrol costs.

    I watch movies on Internet Archive and on YouTube.

    I extend the periods between haircuts, getting only bang trims for a token gratuity or trimming the bangs myself. I also pay cash as it seems to help in getting a low-cost quality hair cut.

    I buy products that have several uses: baking soda, Dr Bronner Sal Suds, vinegar, borax.

    I ask my optometrist if he has any free samples of my prescribed medications when I come in for checkups.

    A psychological trick: supermarkets in my city can no longer offer us plastic bags for free, and charge us for paper, so we are conditioned now to bring our canvas bags, and to stop shopping when we have enough in our carts to fill those bags and our hands (e.g. gallons of milk). When we venture out of our city, we typically receive a discount of a nickel a bag for our grocery purchases.

    Unit price checks when grocery shopping: it seems obvious, but I have been surprised by organic food items and smaller-size portions being cheaper in unit price.

    I buy my fish whole and ask the merchant to cut into fillets or steaks. I save about 10-15% this way. I also learned that instead of buying pre-cut stew meat, I could chop up round steak.

  11. Stephanie Olmsted says:

    Having a savings jar for different goals…. trip to visit family out of state, crib (we will need in a 18+ months), Christmas. I just had the idea for the jars but in January we will add a few dollars to each every paycheck and it will add up. We can see the progress.
    Buy thrift… I even wait for the color of the weeks a lot of the time. Eating at home more. A meatless meal of two a week.

  12. Gailete says:

    I’ve become a huge fan of CVS. Until I started buying food products there, I figured those items sat on the shelves until they are out of date. Now that I wait and get things like our favorite cereals there on sales (cheaper than the grocery store) I know they going through those products quickly so I don’t worry about expiration dates. Using my CVS card gets me many bonus items and extra bucks. Even if a CVS item isn’t on sale, by using my CVS card I get an automatic 20% off on all non-sale CVS products. Because we buy so much at CVS my last CVS end of the season bonus bucks was $16! Free money, I will always take!

    Our mortgage is taken out of our savings account monthly. This year rather than depositing the mortgage amount into that account monthly, I’ve added $5-7 to the amount that is automatcially deposited. It isn’t much but I managed to tuck away $91 so far this year. Since we are on a very restricted/tight budget, it is great to know that we do have a little ‘nest egg’ growing in that account.

  13. Ellen says:

    Pack lunch

  14. CB in the City says:

    I pay for everything with my Discover card and use the rewards for gift cards and for Amazon credits. I have to buy a lot of gifts so it really helps me out. I also use MyPoints and Swagbucks for Amazon credits.

  15. CarolH says:

    I have learned to use up all fresh produce so that we don’t waste grocery monies. For us, it’s been a real way to save.

  16. C says:

    Coupons and hanging laundry outside

  17. Rian says:

    Always look for free shipping promos!

  18. KI Blue says:

    I always shop the “dented” fruits and veg rack at the grocery store, then freeze what I managed to salvage. It’s truly amazing to have all kinds of great healthy food in my freezer at a fraction of fresh produce prices!

  19. Diane says:

    I use swagbucks when I search and use the points for Amazon gift cards. My goal is one per month – not there yet, but working on it!
    I stockpile toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, etc., when they are on sale, have coupons, give rebates and NEVER pay full price!
    When I see a good sale on something, I try to buy enough for a few months – recently pork roasts were one sale, BOGO, so I got 4. I’ll be eating a lot of pork and sauerkraut and pulled pork, but what a savings.
    I put all my change in a piggy bank and roll it myself and cash it in or save it for a rainy day.

  20. Single Guy says:

    There are lots of easy ways to save money. Put all “always on” appliances on power strips to turn on only when needed (TVs, VCRs, radios, etc…). If you pay for trash pickup, do composting, recycling, & reselling to minimize waste, then do joint trash pickup with an amenable neighbor (I save 100’s/year doing this). Buy at yard sales – almost anything you would ever want will appear for pennies on the dollar. Use fans in the summer time and leave the temperature higher. Use portable room heaters in the winter to heat only the needed rooms. Those are just a few.

  21. Single Guy says:

    One more thing – pay bills online. Every bill you pay online saves you a stamp (if you mail), or a trip (if you pay in person). Also that allows you to time payments so you know you have the needed amount of money.

  22. KHBride says:

    I always search for coupons on my phone before I buy anything

  23. Pretty cheap jewelry says:

    How many cards do you send in a year? Though this number may be decreasing, there is still a certain need for a real 3dimensional paper with an envelope every so often. And it’s really a cinch to make them yourself. All you need is a piece of computer paper (though card stock or even school type construction paper works), a pair of scissors and a bottle of glue. Cut out pictures from the newspaper or junk mail and make a funny collage. Use old Christmas cards to resistance into new. Have any old photos around? Put them on a little colored frame for an all ocassion card. Possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Cost? Pennies, not dollars.

  24. Thrifty Ray says:

    Question everything at least once a year. Insurance, TV vendor, cell phone plan, the trash service, etc. Look at all your expenses and question them. Just because it was the best deal when you set it up, doesnt mean it still is. I remind my kids of this rule often, and usually they find at least one bill that can be cut- just by questioning, calling and asking. Dont get in such a rut that you stop questioning whether or not you are getting the best deal for you.

  25. jay says:

    I shop one day a week. If I forget something, it has to wait until the next week. Amazing how creative one can get, and how little you really “need”. If I want/need to purchase something online, it, too, has to wait.

    I have separate savings accounts at ING for different expense categories: taxes, utilities, mortgage, emergency fund, etc. I’ve been tracking expenses for years, so can predict amounts and when they’re due. Also, most bills can be paid directly and automatically from their specific account using my billpay service. Last organizational piece is that almost all bills are paid on the same day of the month. We’re pretty much on autopilot now, which is great.
    I have found that by staying so organized, I always have the money available for our expenses, and needn’t pay late fees or interest -ever.

  26. jay says:

    Another “trick” is that although most bills are monthly, our paychecks are biweekly. I have simply halved what I’ve decided are monthly amounts for each account, and have that automatically transferred in after each paycheck. Over a year’s time, you’ll end up with an extra month’s worth of money in the accounts… makes for a nice cushion.

  27. creditcardfree says:

    We invested in a couple of reusable sandwich bags for my girls lunch. We now don’t buy plastic sandwich bags. Saves us at least $10 a year and helps the environment.

  28. Lisa says:

    I use ING and created different accounts. I’m able to break up large payments into 12 payments and save in the ING account. When the bill comes due, I’m able to pay and I’ve gained some interest on that money.

    I also save all of my change during the year and cash it all in on December 31st. I put all of this into savings.

    I also use coupons and submit rebates by mail and online. Ebates, Mr. Rebate and Shop at home are all wonderful sites online. If you’re going to shop anyhow, you might as well get money back!

  29. This year we actually even grew our own tomatoes and made the sauce. LOTS of work though. Usually we also do the Smart & Final gigantic cans and bottle our own too.

  30. Joined a produce exchange in my town! Someone had graciously started this and sets up a meet once a month to give away / pick up surplus from each others garden. Yes, you must TRUST your neighbor and not blame for any problem with quality (imagine that). What to bring? fruits, vegetables, baked things, flowers, herbs, what is very wholesome.

    If you don’t have one, start one small on your street with neighbors.

  31. Bonny says:

    I use coupons to lower my out of pocket on groceries and toiletries

  32. jay says:

    I have found couponing and stockpiling to have been largely illusory for us. There’s such a thing as too much of a good thing: now I don’t need extra storage space and containers, the added expense of an extra freezer or oversized fridge, nor worry about goods expiring. I do plan shopping trips but have a bit of flexibility for what might be on sale and usable THAT week.
    By following a Zero Waste lifestyle, as others have noted, costs of foods (bulk, BYOB), toiletries (minimal, multipurpose, no disposables), and cleaning supplies (basic, multipurpose), even garbage, have dropped significantly.

    Check out the Zero Waste Home blog and forum for lots of inspiration.

  33. thriftygal says:

    I use shorter cycles on my dish and clothes washers. I also use the sensor on my dryer that automatically shuts the dryer off when the clothes are dry. I always wash in cold water, I use half the amount of detergent suggested, I use vinegar instead of fabric softener and baking soda to boost the detergent’s cleaning and deodorizing power. Instead of fabric softener I use and re-use inexpensive aluminum foil in the dryer.

  34. Jamie Martin says:


  35. Wendy says:

    I don’t wash clean clothes. Think about it…You come home and throw on some jeans and a t-shirt or sweats. You only wear them a couple of hours, they aren’t dirty…don’t throw them in the hamper, hang them on a hook and wear them again tomorrow. If you get something dirty, wash it of course. I can make my hang-around-the-house clothes last a week, since I only wear them a couple hours per day. My work clothes get dirty or sweaty so I only wear them once.

  36. Tina Crabtree says:

    I use coupons and rebates.

  37. Jamie says:

    My wife and I both take leftovers to work for lunch the next day, and we always drink water when we go out to eat. Not buying drinks will save you quite a bit of money over a years time.

  38. Pretty cheap jewelry says:

    Take the bus!! It’s way better than you think, try it Jeffrey, I challenge you!!

  39. mollysusie says:

    I am not a very good cook, and I don’t really like doing it, so for years and years and years I ate frozen meals (or went out). As someone who’s trying to both save money and lose weight at the same time (just kill me now!) I started looking up easy, healthy recipes online. And cooking them. Not only has my grocery bill dropped (those frozen meals were really expensive), but I’m also packing my lunch most days and saving on meals outs. And learning how to cook! And losing weight! Triple yay!

  40. jay says:

    Speaking of showers…. If you can stand it, revert to a habit of the drought days in California: either use a “pause” switch or simply turn off the water while you suds up. Not only will you conserve water but the soap/shampoo will have a better chance of working with a little extra time on your skin/in your hair.

  41. I try to shop on sale – ex: I buy the off-brand of cereal or mustard, I buy whatever veggies are on sale each week, and I try to stick to a budget when I go grocery shopping!

  42. l bryant says:

    Friends!! One of our friends travels throughout the state for business. He calls whenever he sees items we have mentioned at great cost. Recent examples: Today two huge crates (40lbs. each) of apples for $15. We found the compressor he needed for less than $100 and it was normally $750. Talk to your friends and help each other out!!

  43. Gailete says:

    Bryant terrific idea about friends! I had a friend I haven’t seen in person in over 40 years, but we bumped into each other on line taught me so much about selling on line. That gave me the ability to sell on line and make and save money that I would have never seen otherwise.

    Never dispise the days of small beginnings. Get into the habit of tucking some away each week or month and as you learn to get along without it, tuck away a bit more. While you may never get millions tucked away, having some is better than nothing.

  44. jay says:

    Another extension of the Family, Friends (and Neighbors) thought: sharing. Share tools, cooking items (e.g., a canner you might use 2-3 times a season), clothes, services (babysitting, etc.), books, meals, transportation, your time, even that food you canned!… The list is endless.
    On a community level, aside from a Crop Swap, there sometimes are local volunteers, Gleaners, who’ll come and harvest your fruit trees for the hungry. You might also have, or can start, a Tool Lending Library, etc.
    “The Sharing Project” has sample agreements/rules for folks to use. BookCrossing is very cool; then theres “People Not Bombs”, Zip Cars, City CarShare. There’s even a Lendle (ahem, sharing Kindle content)…

    Not only will you save a ton of money, you’ll be part a network of tremendous folks.

  45. crazyliblady says:

    1. I don’t use laundry detergent, which has saved me thousands of dollars over the years. I use laundry magnets and white vinegar.
    2. I take my lunch to work nearly every day because eating out is very expensive and not very healthy. I even take my own fork or spoon to save my employer the expense of plasticware.
    3. I take my own tea bags to work with me to make tea there and not be tempted to buy a coke. I use an insulated travel mug for keeping my tea work. I also buy bottled tea at the grocery store and put it in the fridge at work for the same reason.
    4. I compost all vegetable and fruit peels, tea bags, coffee grounds, and anything else compostable. This enables me to have good, rich compost for my garden and not have to buy so much fertilizer.

  46. Skrpune says:

    ING auto-transfers are a life-saver (and money-saver!). Years ago, I started setting up weekly auto-transfers in small amounts to get our emergency fund started. A few bucks here and there adds up over time. Once the e-fund was in place, I moved on to targeted accounts for gifts, vacation, student loans, slush fund, etc. As we get pay increases yearly, I send the extra money to the slush fund (so we don’t even see it or have time to spend it) and have been using it to make extra debt payments and to take care of unplanned expenses. Any cash bonus redemptions from our main credit card (used to pay all our monthly expenses, and paid in full every month of course!) also go to the slush fund. By tucking away what we can one small chunk at a time, we’ve paid off all my student loans within 6 months of going into repayment and have been able to leave our e-fund untouched for a couple years now. Going to work on tossing even more extra towards the mortgage & hub-monster’s student loans next.

  47. Dianne says:

    My main savings opportunities are threefold:
    1. Have money deducted automatically each month and transferred to my savings account.
    2. Stay out of stores. When I have to buy something check yard sales, freecycle and garage sales before resorting to retail.
    3. Check the sales flyers and my fridge and freezer weekly and menu plan every week depending on what needs to be eaten from the fridge/freezer/cupboard and what is on sale.

    There is lots more that I do but these are the things that save me the most in the long run.

  48. How do I save? I let 10% of my salary deducted and transferred so my savings account. I do not keep the atm card and I only get to hold it every December. Nice saving strategy and timing, right?

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